News / Africa

Swaziland King Open to Dialogue with Opposition, Says Adviser

King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
Peter Clottey
An adviser to Swaziland’s King Mswati III has denied accusations the country’s leader has refused to meet with opposition groups demanding democratic forms.

Obed Dlamini, who is also a former prime minister, said he has been in meetings where the king has called on his government to hold talks with the opposition about possible political changes in the country.

“I have heard him talk in my presence in addressing meetings that the government must give an ear, even to opponents of the system, so that we hear the discerning view. This is what I have heard him say. I have never heard him say the contrary,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini said he knows nothing about opposition claims that the government has refused several requests for talks about democratic reforms. 

“I’m not so sure whether they have been denied such audience or not. If they have been, I think it must have been a mistake, unless they were forcing issues. But, if they wanted peaceful negotiations [on] the future of the country, this is what we all crave for,” said Dlamini. "The time has come for Swaziland to discuss the future of its people or allow the people to discuss the future fervently and honestly."

At a recent meeting with advisers, the king was quoted by Reuters as saying “some from the Western world have been waiting patiently and nursing hopes that the people of Swaziland will revolt and bring about regime change… Swazis are known the world over for being peace-loving and I would like to urge you to remain like that.”

Dlamini said he is aware that some foreign countries wish Swaziland was not a monarchy.

“I have been in meetings where ambassadors of Europe, in particular, have stated clearly about that,” he said.

But, Mario Masuku, leader of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a banned opposition group, says the king’s recent pronouncement is an indication of his unwillingness to implement any democratic reforms.

“I believe that the king’s response was misplaced [and] it was unfortunate. It is only the people of Swaziland that have been calling for reform towards a democratic peaceful and prosperous Swaziland. But from his speech, [he] scorned at people from outside, who are influencing the people of Swaziland to seek for democratic changes, which I believe is wrong,” said Masuku.

He said the Swazi administration has stifled the political opposition by pressuring human rights organizations, trade unions, and civil society groups and banning all political parties.

Some analysts say King Mswati III’s concentration of power is so great - despite the 2006 reintroduction of a constitution - that the country can be considered an absolute monarchy.

Masuku said the government has often used state security agencies to crush peaceful protests calling for democratic reforms.

“We have been calling for a constructive dialogue… it is our fundamental human right to express ourselves to associate. But, they respond by unleashing the security forces against the people,” he said.

Masuku said opposition groups will continue to put pressure on the administration for democratic change.

Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO's leader
Clottey interview with Mario Masuku, PUDEMO's leaderi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Clottey interview with Obed Dlamini, King Mswati III's adviser
Clottey interview with Obed Dlamini, King Mswati III's adviser i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid